Lunar Silver Star Story Complete Music Soundtrack - Soundtrack Review

Mediocre Part of a Great Whole

Track Listing
Disc 1
1.Lunar Silver Star Story Opening Theme
3.Overworld Arrange 1
4.Tumultuous Seas
5.Toward the Horizon
6.Boss Battle Theme
7.Ghaleon's Theme
9.Lunar Sega CD Opening
10.Magical Weapon Nash
14.Mysterious Party
15.Overworld Arrange 2
16.Go! Go! Go!
17.Mysterious Cave
18.Four Heroes
19.Reach for the Front
20.Battle Theme
21.Thieves Bazaar
22.Sad Piano Theme
23.Luna's Boat Song
24.Lunar Theme Arrange
Total Playtime: 54:59
Noriyuki Iwadare
Working Designs

   The 1999 remake of a 1993 RPG, Lunar Silver Star Story Complete broke ground with the incredibly attentive localization treatment it received. Aside from redone graphics, added voice overs, arranged music, a re-translation, and new anime cutscenes, the Complete package also included a number of goodies. Not the least of these goodies was a (nearly) complete soundtrack to the game. This package was met with praise and set a new standard for North American localizations. With the included game soundtrack, RPGamers could listen to their favorite tunes when they were away from their PlayStation.

   The Lunar Silver Star Story Complete Music Soundtrack accomplishes many things. For one, being the soundtrack to a remade classic awards the CD many nostalgia points. The album does a great job of retaining the original Lunar feel by leaving many tracks unchanged, all the while freshening up the scene for a new generation of gamers by arranging some of the other tracks. These arrangements come complete with improved instrumentation and even the addition vocals in some cases. Also, some new original pieces were composed by famed musician Noriyuki Iwadare, who scored the original Lunar as well, to help with the modernizing overhaul of the game. The album does justice to the original Sega CD game and introduces some new themes that sound as if they were apart of the original game to begin with; the new stuff sounds great and refreshing, but more importantly, it still sounds like Lunar.

   The problem with the soundtrack is mostly only audible to non-fans of Lunar or Mr. Iwadare. The music, though catchy and well-done, is a bit generic. There's nothing that's eye-poppingly or ear-bleedingly amazing or new in this CD. The melodies have a tendency to get stuck in a lister's head due to their simplicity and repetitiveness, but they still lack any sort of wow-factor. Even the new themes seems to blend in with the rest of the soundtrack. This isn't to say that the music is bad or poorly-done; it's not bad, but it doesn't stand out either -- which to some could be construed as a bad thing. Mediocre is a good word. One thing that is bad about the soundtrack, however, are the vocalized songs. The intro theme and the "Luna's Boat Song" theme are, as Simon Cowell would say, dreadful. The songs themselves reek of a feeling that can only be described as "meh." To make matters worse, the singer they chose is in desperate need of singing lessons. I believe she plays the voice of Nall in the game -- so apparently the studio tried to save some money by recycling actors. The only problem with that is they should have hired a singer to sing, not an actor.

   Though the soundtrack stays safe within the boundaries of mediocrity, Iwadare's craft is still discernable. His signature style is very apparent, which is good for his fans. The heavy use of percussion and upbeat melodies will catch the attention of any Iwadare fan. This style does get the blood pumping and the energy flowing, and because the musicianship is so good, it's a pleasure to listen to -- for a time. Too much time listening to Iwadare can make one either very tired or annoyed. He tends to favor high-pitched, candy-pop tunes, characteristic of some parts of Japanese culture, which may alienate some of the American audiences. Though the ones alienated are probably the ones least likely to be interested in this type of video game or soundtrack.

   The quality stays consistent with the rest of the soundtrack in that it's also quite mediocre. This, of course, is aside from the vocalist, who is much less than mediocre. The synthesizers are decent and an improvement over the Sega CD version, but for this day and age, they don't quite cut it -- especially not for recreational music. A listener could get by with this quality while playing the game, but it would be more difficult to do so while listening to the soundtrack alone.

   One thing that wasn't skimped on was the production value. As is stated above, the entire Complete package had a lot of effort and money poured into it. The fact that the soundtrack is included among a revamped game and other treats is fantastic. The purchaser gets their money's worth. What keeps the album from getting a perfect score, however, is that the cheap route was taken when scouting for vocal talent. Using an in-house actor cost the vocalized songs big time. Also, not having all of the game's tracks present in the collection was a bit of a disappointment, but most of them are in there so the fault easy to overlook. The only ones cut out were the arguably less-significant and shorter pieces.

   The Lunar Silver Star Story Complete Music Soundtrack is quite a value. Buying it nets the listener much more than a simple soundtrack or game. Unfortunately, the mediocre sound quality and compositions keep the album from getting much lift. However, fans of game music and especially Noriyuki Iwadare will be pleased to find an energetic addition to their collections.

Sound Quality
Production Value
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